Pronunciation Noun

prince (plural princes)

  1. (now, archaic or historical) A (male) ruler, a sovereign; a king, monarch. [from 13th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 42, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book I, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Truely, to see our Princes all alone, sitting at their meat, beleagred round with so many talkers, whisperers, and gazing beholders, unknowne what they are or whence they come, I have often rather pittied than envied them.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin, 2010, p.600:
      By his last years Erasmus realized that princes like Henry VIII and François I had deceived him in their elaborate negotiations for universal peace, but his belief in the potential of princely power for good remained undimmed.
    • 2009, Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall, Fourth Estate, 2010, p.411:
      If Henry does not fully trust him, is it surprising? A prince is alone: in his council chamber, in his bedchamber, and finally in Hell's antechamber, stripped – as Harry Percy said – for Judgment.
  2. (obsolete) A female monarch.
    • Queen Elizabeth, a prince admirable above her sex.
  3. Someone who is preeminent in their field; a great person. [from 13th c.]
    He is a prince among men.
  4. The (male) ruler or head of a principality. [from 14th c.]
    • 2011, Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 26 June:
      He is the prince who never grew up – a one-time playboy and son of the Hollywood star Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
  5. A male member of a royal family other than the ruler; especially (in the United Kingdom) the son or grandson of the monarch. [from 14th c.]
  6. A non-royal high title of nobility, especially in France and the Holy Roman Empire.
    Prince Louis de Broglie won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physics.
    • 2011, Katharine Whitehorn, The Guardian, 16 October:
      Conspiracy theories are always enticing: one I was involved with in the 50s was about Mayerling, the 19th-century Austrian scandal involving a prince’s lover who died in dodgy circumstances in a hunting lodge.
  7. The mushroom Agaricus augustus.
  8. A type of court card used in tarot cards, the equivalent of the jack.
  9. Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Rohana.
  • (mushroom) Agaricus augustus
Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: König
  • Portuguese: maioral

Proper noun
  1. The title of a prince
  2. Surname for someone who acted like a prince, or played the part in a pageant, or served in the household of a prince
  3. A male given name in occasional use
    • 1853 Charles Dickens: Bleak House: Chapter XIV:
      Young Mr Turveydrop's name is Prince; I wish it wasn't, because it sounds like a dog, but he didn't christen himself. Old Mr Turveydrop had him christened Prince, in remembrance of the Prince Regent.
    Prince Fielder hit another home run today.
  4. The musician Prince Rogers Nelson

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